They say that riding a bike is something that you remember how to do your whole life, and once you learn, you’ll never forget. This felt quite untrue as I pedaled my bike through the lush forests of Whistler, Canada, struggling to keep up with my brothers and father as they rode quickly past fellow tourists hiking and biking the trail. With every twist and turn I could feel my body lean, and thought about what I would do if I fell off. But still, I persisted, determined to finish the daunting bike ride my family had embarked on.
Whistler is a ski town just north of Vancouver, and many Olympic events were held on it’s Blackcomb Mountain. We chose to visit in the summer, so rather than skiing, our days consisted of hiking through the lush green pine trees, white water rafting down the Squamish River, and biking along the many trails that criss-crossed throughout the mountains. It had been years since I had been on the back of a bicycle, and upon learning that we would spend our days riding them had made me nervous, thinking of the many things that could happen to me. What if I fall? What if I get lost? What if I break an arm? My mind was a maze of what-ifs, and I couldn’t seem to find my way out.
It soon became apparent that I could in fact still operate a bike without it falling
over every three seconds. The confidence that I gained allowed me to look around at the scenery without fret. We were speeding past tall green trees to the left and a deep blue, glistening lake to the right. In the distance I spotted the tall Coast Mountains which were still topped with snow in the middle of summer. It baffled me that I was still on the same continent that I lived on, because I had never seen such picturesque scenery. Evergreen trees and snow-capped mountains are not a common sight in the south, and as we rode past the bright colored homes, I found it amazing that people had the privilege to live in a place with such beauty, seemingly untouched by the effects of urbanization and modern technology.
I’ve always preferred the city over the country, but as I biked through these Canadian mountains, I realized that the views I was seeing were ones that could never be truly experienced by city dwellers who stay cooped up in the comfort of their homes. Much like how I pushed aside my fear of riding a bike, I believe it is crucial that people step away from what they find comfortable, because it is amazing what you can find when you look around, away from the skyscrapers and asphalt streets, and instead explore the untouched and the unknown.
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